Best free agent of the winter signs

By Jason Wojciechowski on December 1, 2005 at 6:05 PM

Stealing a line from Lee Sinins, the best free agent of this offseason has decided to resign with his old team. No, not Paul Konerko with the White Sox. Rather, Brian Giles signed a three-year, $30M deal with the Padres, ensuring that the next time he comes up for free agency, he'll be patently undesirable to the A's.

That deal is a huge bargain compared to Konerko's. It's two years shorter and $2M/year cheaper despite Giles being a superior hitter, as well as someone who's not stuck at first base. Granted, Giles is older, but even if the contract were a four- or five-year deal, I'd bet on Giles to remain productive for the life of the deal before I'd do so for Konerko.

You have to wonder whether the A's could have been competitive with this offer. Does this represent a discount for Giles? How much did he turn down from other teams? $10M/year certainly seems within the reach of the A's, considering how much money they gave Esteban Loaiza. It seems unlikely, though, that Giles would have left San Diego for only a little more than what the Padres were offering. I'd guess it would have taken something closer to Paul Konerko's deal, maybe $12M/year for four years, to get him to leave.

Apparently, the Angels, having lost out on Konerko, are stepping up their efforts to get Manny Ramirez. I'm not sure how to feel about this. On the one hand, the Angels are certain to have to pay through the nose for Manny, quite possibly decimating the upper levels of their farm system. On the other hand, Manny's a really good hitter, and the last thing the A's need is another good hitter to face 19 times per year.

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